The air freight service Amazon departs from Manchester-Boston Airport

An Amazon cargo jet made the first delivery to a new air cargo facility at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) Thursday morning, marking the expansion of the electronics retailer’s air network to allow for faster online deliveries in New England.

The e-commerce giant’s private airline, Amazon Air, will serve Manchester, New Hampshire daily from its Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport hub with a Boeing 767-300 operated by partner Atlas Air (NASDAQ: AAWW), MTH, operated is announced. More flights are expected to be added as volume increases.

Realterm, an airport real estate investment firm, built a 63,400-square-foot cargo terminal on land it leases from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. The location directly on the 9,250 foot long runway can be expanded to 100,000 square feet if required.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will take 80% of the building, which also has three parking positions for large aircraft.

Amazon supporters stand in front of the new cargo facility at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. (Photo: MHT)

The new facility will help Amazon with fulfillment times as a large volume of orders are trucked into New England. From the airport, Amazon trucks have easy access to the greater Boston area and northern New England. Five million consumers live within a two-hour drive of the airport.

A large warehouse being built in Manchester will be used as a fulfillment center, according to local Amazon reports.

Manchester-Boston already receives FedEx Express and UPS overflow traffic from the congested Boston Logan International Airport. It achieved a record freight volume in the last three years.

“We are confident that freight demand is growing in the region and Logan currently has its caveats regarding Manchester’s future as a relief valve,” Alexi Lachambre, Realterm’s vice president of airport infrastructure investments, told FreightWaves.

MHT is 50 miles north of Boston.

The project was led by Ted Kitchens, who took over as manager of the airport four years ago and wanted to strengthen the airport’s cargo footprint. The new facility will more than double MHT’s cargo storage space.

When the leasehold was announced in 2021, the parties originally envisaged a three-year timeline for the completion of construction, but it was well ahead of schedule and on budget.

Amazon has selected Trego-Dugan Aviation as its ground handling partner.

Aeroterm is looking for a tenant to fill the remaining 10,000 square feet in the cargo terminal.

“I am extremely pleased with the completion of the new cargo apron at MHT, which will nearly double the airport’s cargo capacity and reduce transportation costs while supporting local businesses and promoting job creation

across the region,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H. “As I fought to secure $7.8 million in federal funding legislation for this project in fiscal 2022, I knew it would be a wise investment for our state.”

Unit loads being stored at Amazon’s first air transit facility in New Hampshire. (Photo: MHT)

Amazon Air has more than 110 aircraft in its fleet. They are operated by contract airlines such as Atlas Air in the US and Europe. This year the company added airport gateways in El Paso, Texas; Las Vegas; and Lihue, Hawaii, where more than 73% of the US population is within 100 miles of one of their airports,

In recent months, Amazon has slowed the pace at which it is adding flights to its US network in response to lower consumer spending. According to figures from the US Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales are growing at less than half the rate a year ago and nearly four points below 2019, after quadrupling during the peak of the pandemic. Still, the 7% growth in U.S. e-commerce sales in the first half is strong by most retail standards. Online shopping now accounts for more than 20% of all retail sales.

More FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

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